Gun violence prevention practices among local police in the United States

GVPedia Study Database

Gun violence prevention practices among local police in the United States

Category: Crime, Firearm Availability, Firearm Policies|Journal: Policing: An International Journal (full text)|Author: B Kubu, C Koper, D Woods|Year: 2013


The purpose of the study is to examine gun violence prevention practices among urban police in the USA, assessing their scope, effectiveness, limitations, and impacts.


A national survey was conducted with police agencies serving cities of 100,000 or more people.


Strategies used most frequently and rated as most effective include targeted efforts focused on high‐risk places and groups, as well as multi‐agency problem‐solving efforts, particularly those involving federal authorities. However, most agencies make limited use of proactive strategies to reduce gun crime, and there are substantial gaps in the enforcement of many gun laws. Results also suggest that gun crime is lower in places where police engage in more intensive gun‐related enforcement and prevention efforts.

Research limitations/implications

The survey focused only on large US cities. Implementation of the strategies could not be examined in detail, and assessments of the effectiveness of strategies reflect the views of practitioners. There is a need for more in‐depth research on gun‐related enforcement and prevention practices, their effectiveness, and the organizational and environmental factors that facilitate or hinder them.

Practical implications

The study highlights strategies that should be given priority consideration in policy decisions. The findings also suggest that police efforts to address gun crime can be enhanced considerably – and that doing so may produce demonstrable reductions in gun crime. Further examination of policy changes necessary to facilitate these efforts is warranted.


This study represents the first national survey of gun violence reduction efforts by police in the USA.